Well, it wouldn't be a week away from a 2010 race if I wasn't dealing with a running injury. So far, I've been able to toe the starting line at every race this year by NOT running the week before the race. Ironically, I can't help but feel like it's because of the racing that I've been taken out of my overall rhythm with regards to trail running. As I've mentioned before, it's the day to day running, not the races, that really keep me stoked and although I am really jazzed that Run Rabbit Run is finally here, I will be very happy to put the self-imposed pressures of racing in the rear view mirror for a while, do some adventure running and start thinking about snowboarding!
I do feel race ready though. Last night, my left quad felt good enough and I did 5.2 easy miles (800'+) up to the quarry on Emerald Mountain with faithful dog Benihana. Today, it aches only mildly. I may run the next couple days but will keep it to an easy 30 - 45 minutes at a time as I rest up for Saturday. I expect to start the race feeling completely ready to go in both mind and body.
JD has agreed to "crew" for me and is going to post up at Dumont Lake with a cooler, chair and canines. I'll see him at miles 22 and 28 before and after running to the Rabbit Ears. Some ice packs, Honey Stinger gels, chocolate milk and a sandwich will help keep me going on the trip back. (Thanks for being there, man! Bring friends!) Other than that, I plan to eat and drink at the aid stations, as needed, and will carry one hand held 21 oz. bottle of water and a couple of gels as I run.
My last run to the summit of Mt. Werner gave me a good idea of how conservative my pace needs to be for the first six miles of the race. After that first big climb, it will be important to keep my pace slow and even in the first half of the race to save some strength for later in the day. I definitely learned that lesson at North Face 50 last year. Start slow! Pace in the second half of the race is strictly TBD by how well my body is holding up. It would be nice to finish in the 9 - 10 hour range but my mindset will be to run a relaxed, conservative race and to finish healthy under the 15-hour cutoff.
On a personal note, this race is a big deal to me because it represents a major change in my life. I decided to run this race a little over a year ago and have been preparing for it ever since. I'll never forget running into Katy on the mountain and wondering why this beautiful woman was out running these rugged mountain trails that I was so fond of. When she told me she was going to run a 50 mile trail race, the challenge of it sparked something in me I haven't felt for many years and I felt the need to experience the same adventure. I've run many hundreds of miles in the intervening months in alot of cool, interesting places and made alot of major changes in my life to facilitate running even more miles in the future. The fulfillment that running has brought me is worth celebrating and I'm going to honor it on Saturday.